Our History

Bay Mills Community College Charter Schools Office

Bay Mills Community College is the only federally recognized Tribal college in the country to charter public schools. With 45 chartered schools serving more than 23,600 students throughout the state, BMCC ranks in top three largest authorizers chartering Michigan Public School Academies.

History of Bay Mills Community College (BMCC)

  • BMCC is located on the southeastern shore of Lake Superior within the Bay Mills Indian Community (BMIC) approximately 17 miles west of Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
  • College originally housed at the Tribal Center but has been expanded by the Tribe on four occasions. Includes rural Main Campus, West Campus, Waishkey Bay Farm site, off-campus sites, and online courses
  • Chartered by the Bay Mills Indian Community in 1984 to serve the postsecondary educational needs of Native Americans throughout Michigan; declared a land grant college in 1994
  • Michigan’s first fully accredited, tribally controlled college. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • BMCC is one of three tribally controlled colleges in the State of Michigan and the only community college in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula
  • BMCC offers one (1) Bachelor of Arts degree, fifteen (15) Associate degrees, eleven (11) Certificates, and one (1) Diploma program


Bay Mills Community College Becomes a Michigan Public Charter School Authorizer

  • 1994: Michigan law allows state universities and community colleges to be public charter school authorizers
  • 1997: Bay Mills Tribal leadership initiated discussions with Michigan’s Governor and Attorney General to clarify law regarding BMCC’s ability to act as a public charter school authorizer
  • 2000: Michigan law is amended to include tribally controlled colleges as public charter school authorizers; Bay Mills Community College charters its first two schools later that year
  • Bay Mills Community College is involved with chartering schools to help students from all economic and social situations throughout the State of Michigan gain access to many educational choice and opportunities

BMCC Chartered Schools Provide Educational Opportunities for Michigan Students

  • Since 2000, BMCC has authorized 52 public charter schools throughout Michigan, with 45 charter schools with ongoing contracts
  • The 45 schools that BMCC charter are in geographic areas that have many at-risk students or students who are educationally underserved
  • Over 23,600 students with many students from minority groups, are educated at schools chartered through BMCC
  • Over 48 percent of students enrolled at BMCC chartered schools are African American. In addition to the Native American students served, many Hispanic and Asian American students are also students
  • The Ojibwe Charter School chartered through BMCC returns a K-12 school to the Bay Mills Indian Reservation for the first time since 1940, and educated about 147 students, most of whom are Bay Mills members. This school also restored the teaching of tribal language and traditions to students
  • Over 78 percent of students enrolled at BMCC chartered schools meet federal requirements for a free or reduced school lunch.


Vision Statement of the Bay Mills Charter School Office

To assure a meaningful high school diploma for historically underrepresented children in Michigan

Mission Statement

To ensure a quality education for urban, minority, and/or poor children by improving and expanding educational opportunities through innovative oversight methods. To provide academy boards with the necessary support and training so that they may make educated decisions that are in the best interest for the students that attend their academies